What makes a great sports movie? A captivating, loveable underdog story? The action sequences? The actors? Was it made in the late 1980s or early 1990s? Better yet, what makes a great sports movie montage? These are all questions that beg to be answered and this is an argument worth having.
Let’s rank ’em.
10. Remember the Titans (2000), “Long Cool Woman”
Add a soulful 70s track to grainy, home video footage and you’ve got sports movie magic. “You cannot replace a Gerry Bertier.”
9. D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994), “The Quack Attack is back, Jack!”
When your nation calls you to duty to take down the mighty Vikings from Iceland, you have no other choice.
8. Rocky III (1982), “Beach Training”
When it comes to movie montages, the “Rocky” series is the gold standard. We’ll see more of the Italian Stallion later.
7. The Mighty Ducks (1992) “Come on. I’ll get you your own jersey…”
The ultimate ’90s kid’s fantasy. You and your team in a sporting goods store with a $15,000 budget with Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch playing in the background.
6. The Natural (1984) “Losing is a disease”
While most montages focus on the turnaround that leads to postseason glory, this one focuses on a team’s desperate attempt at saving its season. If only they knew they had the best there ever was sitting on their bench. It even features a nutshot.
5. The Sandlot (1993) “Bertram got really into the ’60s, and no one ever saw him again…”
No, I don’t cry-laugh at this scene every time.
4. Varsity Blues (1999) “The Hungover Game”
I don’t care what you say, this is the most underrated sports movie of all time. Bud Kilmer tossing the clipboard and slamming his headset in slow motion set to AC/DC is what makes it. “HOPE IT WAS FUN!”
3. Major League (1989), “Pennant Fever”
Nothing like seeing Roger Dorn taking fungo balls to the face and upper torso to symbolize the Indians turnaround towards the playoffs. Add cheesy synthesizer music and you’ve got everything you could ever want out of a sports movie montage.
2. Rocky IV (1985) “Hearts On Fire”
I’m going to get a lot of flack for not putting this #1, but for me, there’s still one that’s better.
1. Little Big League (1994), “Runaround Sue”
Look, “Little Big League” is the most underappreciated sports movie of all time. I’ll go one step further. Little Big League is the best sports movie of all time. The “Runaround Sue” montage is pure art and if you disagree, fuck you. “Welcome back, Lou Collins!”
Honorable mention: Rudy (1993), “Tryouts”
I’m not crying. You’re crying.